Where can I find the computer on a 1989 Buick LeSabre?

Espresso
110

Asked by Espresso Sep 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM about the 1989 Buick LeSabre

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1989 Buick LeSabre that stalls out while in motion. Seems to happen when a part gets too hot.
After sitting for awhile, I can drive for awhile again. Assume it is the Computer or the Catalytic Converter.
One question: Can you tell me where to look for the computer in the car? Thank you.

45 Answers

Rubie
805

1989 Buick LeSabre didn't have a computer.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Espresso
110

Was there a digital ignition module and something digital that controlled the fuel injection?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Rubie
805

Nope

Espresso
110

There is an information center read out on the dash so I assumed that there was a computer of some sort.

Rubie
805

They didn't have computers that controlled anything on 89 buick. You should be looking elsewhere for your problem.

Espresso
110

Thank you Rubie. Very much. The car stalls out while in motion, but not all the time. When it does, I pull over and wait for whatever it is to cool down, and then I can drive a while again. There is no warning, just ignition shutdown in mid motion. A phantom stall. Maybe it is the catalytic converter or?

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.
Espresso
110

http://www.autopart.com/ecc/ECC1989BUICKLESABRE.htm ECM?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Rubie
805

You probably need a voltage regulator.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Rubie
805

it's not the catalytic converter. You might want to see a mechanic to help you identify the trouble.

Jason Zane
3,435

any check-engine light? if so.. get codes.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
16,165

rubie your so completely incorrect computers have been installed on cars since the 70's. how do you suppose the check engine light knows to come on. the computer tells it to. Removal & Installation On these vehicles, the powertrain control module is located in the engine compartment, in front of the right side shock tower. 1. Make sure the ignition switch is turned OFF, then disconnect the negative battery cable. CAUTION To prevent the possibility of permanent control module damage, the ignition switch MUST always be OFF when disconnecting power from or reconnecting power to the module. This includes unplugging the module connector, disconnecting the negative battery cable, removing the module fuse or even attempting to jump your dead battery using jumper cables. 2. Locate the computer control module. On these vehicles, the module is mounted inside the passenger compartment, under the dash. 3. Remove the interior access panel/right side hush panel. 4. Carefully detach the harness connectors from the ECM. 5. Remove the ECM-to-bracket retaining screws and remove the ECM, then remove the ECM from its mounting position.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
16,165

funny how there is 3 control modules in that one picture just in case you didn't realize rubie a control module is code name for computer in a car. on that car there is also a body control module and an ignition control module plus about 3 more that i dont feel like trying to remember at 6 in the morning.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
John Saffrahn
16,165

pic 2

John Saffrahn
16,165

removal of the chip

John Saffrahn
16,165

to put it back together its the reverse process.

John Saffrahn
16,165

that was copy and paste from chiltons idk why it says its in the engine compartment, its not just start where it says 1..... good luck

Rubie
805

john, the only 70's car with a real computer control was a chrysler i don't remember that model off hand. It was so unreliable it usually just left people in the street. cars of the 80's could all be repaired without tinkering with the idiot light controllers. Today's cars are all computer controlled with sensors for every ridiculous thing. Not to insult your skill level but you were probably still in diapers in the 80's,

Rubie
805

by the way, i owned and 88 electra one model up from the la sabre and i owned a la sabre in 94

John Saffrahn
16,165

I was in diapers I was born in 88 and every answer you give is either take it to a shop or the answer is wrong I'm awake and agitated, ignition control module, transmission control module, body control module, powertrain control module, the ones with a digital dash had a control module for that and some have a control module for the HVAC for this model car. Btw if the car had lights on the dash then a computer was what told those lights to come on. Like I said cars as far back as the 70's had pcms it may have been only 1 specific car in your opinion but fact is I was right. You argued with this man that his car didn't have a computer even though there pretty much isn't a part on the enging that doesn't rely on a computer

Rubie
805

John, john, john. I owned those cars. I also worked for Hertz Corporation Truck Division as far back as the 70's. Today's cars are much different from the cars up into the 90's. Yes, the idiot lights were connected, but if they weren't, the vehicles would operate perfectly. You just wouldn't see the light. On all those cars and trucks, there were no such thing as computer controls. Absolutely no such thing. From what you say, you were 18 in 2006, I was 18 in 1970. I know those cars, I owned them, drove them, fixed them. Today, you hook a reader up to the car and match the code to a repair number in a book. It's not the same. Really. On those cars, you could back up and hit the brakes to reset the linkage, you can't do that today. If your car had a carberator problem, you could unscrew the air filter, spray some ether on the butterfly valve, and a little more when someone was revving the engine and get the car running until you could get the carberator fixed. You can't do those repairs on today's cars and I wouldn't tell someone how to do them that did not have some rudimentary skill level so as not to hurt the car or themselves.

Rubie
805

The function of the catalytic converter on the 1989 buick was to control emmissions to lessen air polution. It was an expensive repair and if it wasn't state law, it would be better not to have it.

Rubie
805

They didn't have codes on 1989 vehicles, a mechanic would listen to the problem and from experience, find it and fix it.

John Saffrahn
16,165

Actually it depends on where you live and the 1980s cars have computer controls if the computers didn't matter then that means you can unplug them and the cars would run but they don't. Any car with an electronic fuel injection system has a computer. The sensors on the car tell the computer where the engine is in relation to the cycles so the computer tells the injectors to fire. No computer means no injector action means no fuel means no running engine. The 83 corvette was never released because the electronic injection system had so many issues. The issues were mostly resolved and in 84 the corvette was back with a computer controlling the entire fuel injection system. All of California and northwest Indiana have emission testing. I live in northwest Indiana and guess what. No catalytic converter means the exhaust gasses will not be in an acceptable range causing you to fail emissions and not get plates for your vehicle. If you don't have an answer for a question don't tell someone to go spend money when they don't necessarily have to. just because you don't know what you're talking about doesn't mean no one else will be able to answer.

Rubie
805

That answer was explaining that the catalytic convertor is only used to control emmissions it has no other function. It is expensive to replace and it does not serve any useful purpose and i know its required by law. And pal, you are the only one who is giving repair advice that is going to cause someone to spend money on the wrong things. I know how much you don't know. Stop trying to cover your inferiority complex up by attacking me. I knock bullies down i don't get intimidated by them. And if you were a real mechanic you would be at work. I'm retired

John Saffrahn
16,165

I go to work in 40 mins and if the 80's cars dont have codes then why is there a procedure for pulling them? That's right they do have codes Its called OBD 1 you are wrong. It doesn't matter how you put it you are wrong GM codes are checked with either a scanner or jumping the wires in the plug by the drivers feet and countng the MIL flashing. Fords and Chrysler's are with a scan tool or their key on off on..... trick. the foreigh cars have led lights on the pcm's. Stay retired because you don't know what you're talking about. I'd love to take you to school on this subject but I don't have to time if ur retired then get online and start looking this stuff up. Educate yourself on the subject. Again the reason for the catalytic converter is to cut back on the emissions that burnt a hole in the ozone. But the green house effect is no big deal so you right the cats are useless.

John Saffrahn
16,165

You argued with this man that his car had no computer. He provided a site the sells the computers tor his car and you still denied the existence of these computers. I copied and pasted images from chiltons online telling him how to replace his computer and in that pic it showed 2 other computers and you still deny their existence. What more do you need before you realize you are wrong. I'm not a bully I'm simply telling it like it is. I'm right he is right there are multiple computers and they obviously have a job. They may be stupid and useless in a sense but they are required for the engine to run.

Rubie
805

a 1989 la sabre does not need a computer to run. it is an internal combustion engine. it needs gas, oil and air.

Rubie
805

John they did not have computers back then for cars. The computers were huge and filled a room except for crt's (short for cathorade tubes that looked and essentially were tv monitors. They operated on basic (its a computer language) bill gates invented dos (disk operating system) for ibm and small computers that were 2 feet by 3 feet wide were invented in the 80's. No way one could possibly fit in a car not even in a Peterbilt. (Back then it was a $50,000 18 wheeler cab). You really truly have no idea what you are talking about. What's your mantra -- if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull@#&*.

John Saffrahn
16,165

Take your old ass to the retirement center. You remove those computers and the car doesn't run therefore its a computer its a computer required for the vehicle to run end of story. A PC has nothing to do with the computers in the cars.

John Saffrahn
16,165

Its gas fuel and air and if that's the case then even the brand new vehicles don't need a computer because they are internal combustion engines, isn't m.a.s.h. or Gilligan's island on right now.

Michael McGrail
5,415

Wow.. Rubie.. You are wrong in soooo many ways.. I don't even know where to start.. First off.. A 1989 LeSabre does in fact have a computer. Anything with electronic fuel injection uses an ECM (also called a computer). John is correct, computers have been in cars since the 70s, although initially they only monitored emissions equipment. 2nd.. The catalytic converter is required for modern fuel injected vehicles to work correctly. And a clogged cat will prevent a car from running. I drove a 1987 Pontiac Bonneville to high school my junior year. 3.8l V6 and it had an ECM (OBD1). That should be the exact same engine in the LeSabre.

Michael McGrail
5,415

Hello Espresso, I apologize for the incorrect information you were provided by Rubie. Does the car just die while driving? Or at idle? Does all of your power accessories still work after the car dies? And it is safe to rule out the catalytic converter as an issue.

John Saffrahn
16,165

Also the fuel filter is known to make an engine stop while driving and when the sediment settles off the filter it unglogs and can be restarted. Generally a half hour of driving then dies then restarts about a half hour later sometimes 15 mins sometimes 45 anywhere in between the ecm is expensive and a $7 filter is a much less expensive route to take. It supposed to be changed every 3-4 oil changes any way.

Espresso
110

Dear John and Michael, many thanks for your guidance. To answer your question. The car dies while driving not while iding generally. When it does, the power steering is gone and the dash lights up. And I steer with difficulty to a stop on the side. And if I start the car right away, it cranks with difficulty and dies again. But if it sits for awhile it starts right up again and I can drive until it happens again. Thanks.

Espresso
110

Logically it seems that something heats up and then cools down. But maybe I am wrong. But something just cuts the power with no warning at all. You are drving then you are not!

John Saffrahn
16,165

That's what a fuel filter will do the reason the check engine oil pressure and battery light comes on is because the engine dies the reason the power steering becomes difficult is because the engine stops turning and that stops the power steering pump from turning. The brake pedal becomes very stiff and hard to stop after the second push because the vacuum booster loses vacuum. Like I said start with the fuel filter as the engine runs the fuel flows stirring up the debris in the filter clogging the filter when the car sits the debris falls off the filter allowing the car to restart. Around this time of year the probability of the car cooling off in a half hour is unlikely. Give it a shot.

Espresso
110

Okay. I will give it a try. By the way, the car is running rich, you can smell it. The spark plugs are new. Someone mentioned to replace the plug wires saying that the spark plugs could be flooded with gas and causes the stall. Does this make any sense? Also, does the cat coverter make any sense? Thank you.

John Saffrahn
16,165

If the catalytic converter isn't working properly then the raw gas that it usually burns off could be passing through the exhaust and out the tail pipe. To smell it means a significant amount of fuel isn't being burnt which could lead belief to a misfire. Does it smell like gas when you first start it up, all the time, or whenever it dies? A constant misfire will cause the converter to overheat and melt which is why when an OBD 2 vehicle misfires the check engine light flashes. But at the same time a clogged cat would show issues like it hits a certain speed and the engine losses acceleration and flooring the gas would make it sputter. Is the check engine light on while its running?

Jason Zane
3,435

i'm wondering if your ignition module & coils are bad.. you have raw gas smell and it seems to die when hot. might be time to replace it; how old is the part? does it idle rough(shakey)? i too would go with checking out why it misfires.

Shoppertimi
0

Espresso, the same exact thing has happened to me. It was the crankshaft sensor. The mechanic said it was made of plastic and when it heated up it would quit working, after it cooled down the car would work again for a short time, until the sensor got too hot again. I've not had this issue since replacing the crankshaft sensor. Hope this helps.

Michael McGrail
5,415

Wow Espresso.. As you talk the more symptoms we find out.. The fuel smell you are getting is excess fuel.. Flooding the spark plugs with fuel will cause the car to stall and after a while the fuel evaporates and allows the car to restart.. Now why are you getting too much fuel.. Could be something as simple as overgapped or bad spark plugs. Could also be as others have mentioned ignition module, coil packs or the crankshaft sensor. All of them would do it. It is still safe to rule out the catalytic converter (in my opinion); I honestly do not think it is your problem. Due to the age of the car, I would personally lean towards a vacuum leak. GM used a vacuum assisted fuel pressure regulator and a leak will cause excess fuel into the injectors flooding the cylinders.. I have personally had this happen to me on my Bonneville I owned in high school. Mine was more dramatic though as I had a large vacuum line break. I am assuming you most likely have a small vacuum line that has cracked. I would inspect the lines around the fuel pressure regulator closely as they most commonly break there.

AndyL
5

ok mine is a 2000 and its doin the same thing

John Saffrahn
16,165

Andyl if you start your own question way more people will be able to see it.

evbvcg
0

I had similar problem and researched with dozens of wrong answers. My 98 buick (and similar on other Buicks) runs with a 12 pin main electrical connector that from the front left side of the vehicle under the hood up from the engine and toward the front side of Coils. One of those 12 pins provides all electircal feed to the auto. If that pin on the main connector gets carroded, it cuts of power to the vehicle and it will dead stop running (same as if power cut off to battery). I had a friend who examined the connector - found the main electrical pin and cleaned it with a tooth brush and a small screw driver. Prior to that, my car was dying out of nowhere after I'd been driving a while. The first time he cleaned it, I ran about 2-3 weeks with no problem and then died again. He recleaned the main electrical pin connector on that main connector to the coils and has corrected issue.

KevinJR
0

It is most likely the fuel pump in the gas tank.

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